The Green Bay Packers were probably unlikely to put in a waiver claim on wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but the financial end result of his divorce with the Cleveland Browns will make a waiver claim essentially impossible for general manager Brian Gutekunst.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Beckham and the Browns settled on an agreement that will have him placed on waivers on Monday, but any team claiming Beckham will have to assume $7.25 million in salary in 2021.
The Packers have around $5 million in cap space currently and only one logical way to clear space immediately: a contract extension for Davante Adams, which is highly unlikely.
This doesn’t mean Beckham has no path to Green Bay. In fact, if the Packers truly want him, the chances of him ending up in Green Bay probably increased slightly. Because his salary this season is so high, it’s now much more likely that he goes unclaimed on waivers, which is probably the result he desires. A veteran player like Beckham wants the opportunity to pick his next team. Not many teams in the NFL have the ability (and probably the desire) to take on his remaining salary. And so, if he goes unclaimed to start next week, it’s theoretically possible that there could be mutual interest between Beckham and the Packers.
It’s just as possible that the Packers have no interest in the controversial receiver and this whole conversation is a waste of time.
Still, it’s a discussion worth having. The Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and Gutekunst has been aggressive in adding veteran talent to the roster. There’s isn’t a huge need at wide receiver, but Beckham would be a highly interesting and potentially difference-making secondary weapon behind All-Pro Davante Adams.
Beckham has 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns over six games with the Browns this season. He missed nine games to injury in 2020. Prior to 2020, Beckham produced five 1,000-yard seasons in his first six seasons. He turned 29 years old on Friday.
What should Packers do about Odell Beckham Jr. becoming available?